• Kayleigh Campbell

Life in isolation

It's a phrase I've heard a lot recently, but these are very strange times indeed. It's still a little bit hard to fathom how much life as we know it has changed. When things started to gain traction, like many, my anxiety started to build and my mood dropped. As someone who is always on the go, values being productive and enjoys lots of time out and about, I was apprehensive about a state of lockdown. Of course, there are people in much, much worse situations than myself and over these last couple of weeks I have realised how lucky we are - having our own, nice house, financial security and good health. Having said that, it is still a disappointing feeling seeing things we were looking forward to cancelled (though we understand the importance of it). So like many others, the current situation has provoked a mix of emotions.

In an effort to remain focused and positive we have fashioned a routine. Joe and I take it in turns to get up with Eliza on a morning, so the other one can stay in a bed longer (much needed!). On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 8am I am doing my job from home. This a new job which I'm very pleased I got, the institution is very nice and the staff are all really kind. The job itself is the kind of job I like - methodical, analytical and process-based, but with the opportunity to be creative. Though the job came at a strange time (I was in the office only two weeks and then working from home) I am really pleased to have it as it gives me much needed extra focus during this difficult time and gives me extra financial security during the remainder of my PhD. At the moment, Joe isn't working from home as such so is able to watch Eliza whilst I work, again something we are very lucky with.

We play out in the garden before lunch, Eliza loves to go on her swing and likes helping sweep up the leaves. Joe and I are having regular games of Ring Toss (it's pretty fun!) and I'm doing exercise everyday in the garden. Being healthy is something which is important to me, so whilst in this situation I am focusing on eating healthily and exercising to help with my overall wellbeing. After lunch Eliza has her nap. At the moment she still has a couple of hours in the afternoon, I'm not sure how much longer she will do this for. This gives Joe and I some time to relax and have our own time. Joe is usually on Pokemon whilst I do some writing or reading, then we will watch something. At the moment we are watching Undercover on BBC and we've just started Tiger King, which yes, is pretty wild. We have recently finished watching all of the Harry Potter films too. I think it's important to have a variety of activities what you can do together but also by yourself (if you live with others). When Eliza wakes up we will then go for our daily walk. We try to switch up the routes and avoid going near parks as Eliza doesn't understand why she can't go in them! I'm very grateful to still be able to go for walks, they do the world of good.

Then Eliza will play some more, we will have tea and then do her bedtime routine. Though Eliza has a routine that we stick to, she isn't a great sleeper. We think this is because she has so much energy and such an active mind! But the routine works wells for us and Eliza likes it. Then when Eliza is in bed Joe and I can properly relax! Structuring our day helps massively. Some days we or I will do different things, such as baking. Yesterday I made a banana loaf with the last two bananas we had - it is very nice! On Sunday it is Eliza's second birthday, so we are going to make it as special as we can. The good thing is that she still doesn't really understand, so she will no doubt be happy with her Peppa Pig Bubble Lawnmower and the Victoria Sponge cake that Joe is going to make for her.

These two years have gone very quickly but it also feels like we've had Eliza a whole lifetime. She is wonderful and brings us so much joy. There have been difficult times and there are more challenges to come, but it's good to focus on how healthy, loving and intelligent Eliza is, especially during these uncertain times. Though I of course want things to be 'normal' again, there are some perks to the situation. Joe who normally works 38 hours a week, is able to spend everyday with Eliza and it's quality time. We are catching up on sleep and rest. We are focusing on our health. So as hard as it is, and horrible for some people, there are some positives, I think.

I've also written some more poems, which is always good. I'm waiting for some feedback via the post from my supervisor. So far I've written around half of my PhD collection which seems to be shaping up well. I'm going to use this period to focus on planning for the remainder of second year, editing my poems and reworking the thesis I have written so far.

Who knows when the clouds will clear, but I'm trying to focus on the fact they will.


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